Legal & General is gearing up for another spurt of growth at its Birmingham insurance centre.
The company, already one of the biggest employers in the general insurance sector in the city, has seen staffing levels soar from 25 to 670 over the past ten years.
With new business in the pipeline L&G could recruit between 50 and 100 in the next few months, operations manager Andy Dawson said.
Along with its HQ at Kingswood, Surrey, Birmingham is a key centre for L&G.
The group, which has about 8,800 staff and 5.4 million customers across all its business sectors, now occupies nearly 53,000 sq ft of space over three floors in Centre City House, Smallbrook Queensway, its home since it relocated to Birmingham from Dudley in the mid-90s.
The route that L&G is pursuing is remarkable for three reasons.
First, it ruled out redundancies at the Birmingham call centre when its insurance joint venture with Barclays, which employed more than 100 people, ended earlier this year. Second, it has refused to follow the lead set by other major insurers which have controversially "outsourced and off-shored" their call centre operations to India.
Third, it is undertaking a major overhaul of its operations in the city with not a single outside consultant in sight. A change programme called Get Fit for Growth aimed at steering the operation through the next few years in an increasingly competitive general insurance market is being driven entirely by its own people.
"We recognised the need to change over the next three years or so as more and more our success will depend on how we serve our customers," said Mr Dawson. " They are becoming more and more savvy and demanding and we need to be able to develop a lean infrastructure and become as efficient and flexible as possible.
"The Get for Growth programme is not about getting consultants in to tell us what to do. We have our own team, ranging from team leaders to claims handlers, reviewing the business for us.
"Between them they have come up with one thousand ideas that we are looking at .
"That, combined with the fact that decided not to make people redundant when the Barclays business came to an end, has been a massive boost for morale."
Staff dislocated by the ending of the Barclays business have undergone intensive retraining to fit them for other jobs. "We are putting people first, second and third followed by processes and then technology," said Mr Dawson.
L&G's Birmingham centre already handles household insurance claims for mortgage lenders Birmingham Midshires, part of the Halifax/Bank of Scotland group, and for Britannia Building Society, the country's second biggest mutual behind Nationwide.
A major new partnership is expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
This, together with growth in L&G's own insurance operations, is what is driving the growth of the Birmingham centre, says Mr Dawson.
As part of the overhaul the group has invested just under £575,000 in new telecommunications and computer systems in Birmingham.
"I am looking at what we will need in terms of extra staff and space over the next three to five years and I am sure that Birmingham will remain core to our operations.
"The city has a big insurance sector and a good labour market."
Overall charge of L&G's general insurance business has passed to Jane Dale who has taken over as managing director from Ian Viney who has gone to run the group's joint venture in Egypt.
Ms Dale previously ran the group risk operation and oversaw a 233 per cent growth in the business from £ 60 million a year to £200 million.